Don't I make a decent hobo? I mean, that hat.
When we were starting first grade, my family moved across town, placing me in a different school, and we gradually grew apart. I can’t remember the year but sometime before middle school, her family moved to Indiana, distancing us even further. But our friendship fought on! We were penpals for years (another lost phenomenon of the 80's and prior, thanks to the digital age), and we decided to go to the same sleepaway camp the summer before 8th grade. From there, high school and college busied us, and we lost touch.
3. Jessica Lawson is someone who is generous with her time and was kind enough to answer some interview questions for my blog:
A: Oh, there were lots of rejections and I’m sure there will be plenty more (going on submission with publishers with new books can make you feel like you’re querying all over again). I received hundreds and hundreds of rejections and it took three years before I got an agent in fall of 2012. I wrote eight novel manuscripts, a few picture books, several articles, and sent a bunch of children’s magazine submissions before I wrote The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher. Then it was 3-4 months before we went on submission and another 8 weeks or so before an offer came in.
A: I was dusting my bookshelves one day and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer caught my eye. I started thinking about the characters and how, as a young girl, I wanted to be like Tom and Huck, running around and finding adventures. Becky Thatcher was a character that I didn’t relate to as much, and I found myself wondering if maybe there was a way to play around with the story and let her get into mischief as well. My version of Becky had an older brother, Jon, who she admired above all others and is grieving when the story opens; that character was inspired by my own brother-in-law.
A: I like it when Becky Thatcher tells Tom Sawyer that he’s got to spit more if he wants friends. Not something I would tell my own daughter, but it was fun to write
A: Lots. Let me go see. Okay: Christopher Paul Curtis’s Elijah of Buxton, Donna Gephart’s Death By Toilet Paper, Anne Ursu’s The Real Boy, Arnold Lobel’s Fables, Ally Carter’s Heist Society, Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper, Karen Foxlee’s Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, Roald Dahl’s Danny, The Champion of the World, Hans Brinker, Ann Patchett’s This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, Varian Johnson’s The Great Greene Heist, and ARCs of Stuart Gibbs’ Evil Spy School, Robin Stevens’s Murder is Bad Manners, and Heather Vogel Frederick’s Absolutely Truly. Some are books that I’m reading for the first time, some are ones that I’m re-reading for pleasure or to see how the author worked a certain piece of his/her writing craft/magic, and some are just comfort books that I like to have near me.
A: Try not to give up on the road to getting published~ think of it as a quest. A quest is exciting! A quest has challenges! A quest has triumphs to celebrate~ big ones and smaller ones! A quest is both a deeply personal journey and one that requires teamwork along the way! A quest has places where you might give up, but don’t! It’s okay to get disheartened, but please, please, please use the resources you can find, both internally and externally to keep going.
4. Finally, Jessica is generously offering a book giveaway of The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher to a randomly selected person! All you have to do is leave a comment below (by midnight central time on Friday, October 10). Trust me, you want to read this book if you love a main character with a strong and funny voice (and really, who doesn't?), if you are a Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn fan, or if you enjoy an adventurous, troublemaker, female protagonist. UPDATE: The winner is Kathy! Congratulations! Shoot me an email (use "Contact Nicole" in the left sidebar) and we'll deliver your brand-new book!